December 21, 2018
Weil’s Frankfurt and Munich offices advised MKM Mansfelder Kupfer und Messing GmbH (MKM) in the merger control proceedings (COMP/M.8909) with the European Commission (EU Commission) in the framework of the contemplated acquisition of MKM by KME AG (KME).
In its decision dated December 11, 2018, the EU Commission approved the proposed acquisition of MKM by KME, two of the leading manufacturers of copper products within the European Economic Area, without any conditions. The approval was preceded by in-depth investigations (Phase II) of about six months by the EU Commission since at the beginning it raised serious doubts about the compatibility of the merger with the Common Market, even though the parties had already offered extensive commitments in Phase I to remove the competition concerns identified by the EU Commission. The parties did not uphold the commitments in Phase II and were able to convince the EU Commission that no competition concerns existed with respect to the planned merger.
The proceedings turned out to be especially complex because the EU Commission was notified of another planned merger in the copper sector between Wieland and Aurubis – the other two leading manufacturers of copper products in Europe – at almost the same time (COMP/M.8900). In line with past case practice (e.g., Seagate/Samsung, COMP/M.6214 and Western Digital/Hitachi, COMP/M.6203), the EU Commission assessed the parallel transactions in the order of notification, applying the so-called priority rule – first come, first served. Pursuant to the priority rule, the Commission assessed the KME/MKM transaction on the basis of the market situation existing before the notification of the parallel Wieland/Aurubis transaction. The investigation of this second transaction is ongoing.
The Weil Antitrust team, headed by Frankfurt Corporate partner Kamyar Abrar, was instrumental in ensuring that the priority rule was applied and the transaction was finally approved unconditionally. The team also included Corporate associates Aurel Hille and Steffen Giolda (Frankfurt), and Litigation associates Nicolas Bechtold (Frankfurt) and Barbara Sandfuchs (Munich).